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Staff Highlight: Patty Levesque

Staff Highlight: Patty Levesque

By on Dec 3, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

Patty Levesque is OM Sanctuary’s Guest Services Supervisor and has been with us for over 1 year now. Over 3 years ago she fell in love with the healing environment of the sanctuary attending programs and volunteering. She stated she loved watching the organization grow. After traveling to the Omega Institute, Patty was happy to see a non-profit in the south east with similar offerings and decided to become a part of the team. Patty is a mother of three daughters and has a loving partner who she loves to hike, dance and garden with. In the following interview, she illustrates her love for OM Sanctuary and its mission. What Initially Drew You to OM Sanctuary? For years I had dreamed about Asheville having a holistic educational retreat center with offerings like yoga classes, wellness teachers, organic and healthy food, a growing community, life enhancing programs, and access to nature. I had attended a few events and volunteered at OM Sanctuary, and loved the feel of the place. As I watched the vision for OM Sanctuary grow, I felt like it had the potential to become this educational space for Asheville, and this was exciting to me. Having worked as a bookkeeper/office manager for 20 years at Mountain Xpress, I was ready for a change. When the opening came up for a Guest Services Supervisor, I was interested and ready to join the team of this growing non-profit. Being in on the ground floor of this organization with so much potential ahead is part of what feeds me.   What is your favorite aspect of working at OM Sanctuary? As Guest Services Supervisor, I am often the first person that people meet upon arriving at OM Sanctuary. As the first face and voice to greet many retreatants, I appreciate being able to help retreatants learn about the programs we offer. It feels great to share with them my knowledge of Asheville and the surrounding areas – for instance: fun things to do in nature, health & wellness, nice restaurants to check out, and the beautiful, interesting areas to visit and enjoy. Working with a good team of folks is another favorite aspect for me, which goes with a saying...

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Retreatant Reflections pt 3

Retreatant Reflections pt 3

By on Nov 26, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

We recently sent out a guest feedback request and we were overwhelmed with amazing reviews. Thank you everyone that responded! Published studies show that keeping a gratitude journal or openly expressing what you are grateful for can help improve your emotional and physical wellbeing! During this season of giving thanks, please accept our sincere expression of immense gratitude to all of our retreatants, past and future. Below are some of your favorite things that we heard from you about your time spent at OM Sanctuary. May we continue to inspire healthy lifestyle practices through holistic education and a connection to nature. “The OM Sanctuary provides a retreat environment to refresh and renew your mind, body and soul.” -Christine Pearson, Kennesaw, GA. “It’s a peaceful place to regain your sense.” -Neil Caudle, Pittsboro, NC. “The resort provided a quiet and private sanctuary.” -Elizabeth Hooker, Charlotte, NC. “When we visited your site, neither myself nor my husband Jacques had any idea this was to be our final trip together. He passed away June 18th. We both loved our visit and our quiet talks during breakfast with your executive director. We were already coping with illness but your beautiful accommodations created a final romantic memory for us. Thank you so much!” -Denise Korn, Atlanta, GA. “OM Sanctuary provided a delightful place for my friends and I to reconnect, re-energize, and recover from the school year.” -Anna Discenzo, Cleveland, OH. “The cabin I stayed in was so peaceful – no clocks and no tvs. Just a beautiful room surrounded by beautiful nature.” -Paige Jordan, Kannapolis, NC. “We had a wonderful four days staying, relaxing, and renewing at OM. We left with more energy, excitement, and wonderful memories than we could have hoped for.” -Joe Green, Washington, D.C. “When I entered my second floor room overlooking the garden, I felt a sense of calm begin to permeate my body. I came to OM Sanctuary tired and stressed. I loved the big windows, the fireplace in the room and the walking paths. I also enjoyed talking to the staff about life.” -Brenda Hunter, Ph.D., Chapel Hill, NC. “I loved the overall atmosphere at OM Sanctuary. Best part was being able to walk through the gardens...

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Macrobiotic Madness!

By on Nov 19, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

Introducing Christopher DeWilde, OM Sanctuary’s new Chef and Kitchen Coordinator! Christopher brings a sense of balance to the kitchen and has begun working with local/organic food providers to ensure that OM Sanctuary will be able to offer the cleanest source of nourishment for the mind, body and soul. When Christopher was a child, his grandparents owned two restaurants along the Ohio River Valley in Evansville, Indiana where his mother and family all worked together. In his early 20’s, he began waiting tables and bartending for a variety restaurants throughout Northern Indiana where he directly learned about the importance of customer service. After working in the “front of the house” for seven years, Christopher enrolled at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (a Le Cordon Bleu program) in 2005 and graduated in the top 87% of his class in 2007 after finishing his externship at the House of Blues Hotel in Chicago. Christopher received his first job as Chef du Cuisine at Adesso in the north side of Chicago and worked there for nearly two years at which point the “big city life” began to wear on him. In the fall of 2008, Christopher moved to Green Mountain, North Carolina where he lived in an Organic Farming Community where he was introduced to the global Macrobiotic Family. Devon and Ryan Johnson, the daughter of the farm’s owner and her husband, had been instructors at the Kushi Institute for Macrobiotic Learning for over 7 years before moving to North Carolina. Devon and Ryan began to instruct Christopher in the key principles and concepts of Macrobiotic Cooking. After a few months, an opportunity arose with a former director of the Kushi Institute to open a vegan/macrobiotic cafe/catering business in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Christopher joined the Johnson Family in relocating to Pittsfield, Massachusetts and their business, Dancing Vegan, opened in the summer of 2009. While working and being a part of key staff at the Dancing Vegan, Christopher was well instructed in Macrobiotic principles, concepts, theories, cooking, and preparation techniques. He had many teachers from the Kushi Institute including Dan Esko, and Phiya Kushi (the son of Kushi Institute founder Michio Kushi). After some life changing events in late 2013,...

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Beauty in Blessings

Beauty in Blessings

By on Nov 5, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

On the 4th Sunday of every month, Omileye (Osun Priestess and OMS artist-in-residence) and her husband Olu, lead sacred water ceremonies at OM Sanctuary’s French Broad River access. Omi shares, “This past Sunday there were 12 of us at the river. Participants have said they have really enjoyed the blessings and the children love it too! The ceremonies involve learning, teaching, and doing; people even help with laying the offerings. These practices allow us to learn more about the water/elements, and how to invoke the energies through song and prayer. With every river blessing, people in turn receive healing blessing from the waters.” Thank you, Omi, for your blessings. Click here to find out more about Omi’s Monthly water...

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MountainTrue and OM Sanctuary

MountainTrue and OM Sanctuary

By on Oct 29, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

OM Sanctuary is highlighting MountainTrue an organization that has helped strengthen the holistic management of invasives in our forest. This blog post is dedicated to our ongoing partnership with MountainTrue. MountainTrue is a local organization in Asheville that, “envisions Western North Carolina with thriving communities that are connected to and help sustain a healthy natural environment.” Among the many amazing projects that MountainTrue undertakes, one of them that has affected OM Sanctuary directly is their help to remove invasive species’ from the Richmond Hill Park, and from our very own campus. In fact, MountainTrue facilitated one of our volunteer days where many local Ashevillians came to help identify and remove invasives from our property. Bob Gale, MountainTrue Ecologist and Public Land’s Director recently stated: “MountainTrue recognizes the value of the OM Sanctuary’s rich forest community, which occurs on its conservation easement within Asheville’s city limits. The fact that it is situated so closely to the City’s only forested tract, Richmond Hill Park, is significant. Portions of both tracts are threatened by infestations of non-native invasive plants, which can spread to each tract by wildlife movement and human activities. MountainTrue has been performing invasive control treatments with volunteers at the Park for several years and we have helped the Sanctuary with training in similar treatments. This ongoing work at both locations will reduce the back and forth movement of these invasive species. We look forward to future partnership with OM in restoring the forest’s impacted portions, ultimately enriching the Sanctuary’s healing focus on “Body, Mind, Spirit, and Nature.” —Bob Gale – MountainTrue Ecologist & Public Lands Director. Here are some photos of MountainTrue in action at OM Sanctuary!:...

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Love Your Work and it Becomes Play

Love Your Work and it Becomes Play

By on Oct 27, 2016 in OM Sanctuary Blog | 0 comments

While the carbon footprint project continues to develop and expand in scope, this week’s blog post is aimed at highlighting some of the hospitality and extra-curricular activities Evan has been able to experience as an intern at OM Sanctuary. Hey everyone, This past week has been very productive in terms of project development and networking including a follow-up visit with some of the amazing staff at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy. As a land trust, their work continues to provides benefits both seen and unseen to the Appalachian region. This week I wanted to touch on some of the additional aspects of my internship experience including the hospitality staples of guest-services, policy, planning, and management. In addition to this, I have been able to participate in many of the daily holistic classes offered right here at OM Sanctuary. Together, these experiences have a produced quite a unique internship experience. While I am able to absorb a lot of guest services experience throughout the workweek, I tend to have my head buried in research and writing from Monday until Thursday. For this reason, Friday is my designated “hospitality day” where I focus on honing the skills necessary to be successful in the tourism industry. Working from the reception desk has afforded me the opportunity to interact with guests and facilitate communication between them and other staff members including housekeeping, kitchen staff, and management. There is a strong sense of satisfaction that comes with this type of work, for example: after referring an out-of-town guest to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, they returned the following day to thank me for making their stay even more memorable. Helping people connect to nature is part of what sustainable tourism is all about.. As an intern, I couldn’t ask for a better workplace climate. The ambiance here at OM Sanctuary is highly conducive towards relaxation and rejuvenation, and this same feeling can be observed in the yoga classes offered here throughout the week. Beginning in October, I have had the pleasure of attending these classes instructed by Sue Ann, the programs coordinator here at OM Sanctuary (formerly of the renowned Salt Spring Centre of Yoga), as well as Elle Jai, a local instructor who...

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